MVG survives Beaton test
Michael van Gerwen was not at his best but just had enough to beat Steve Beaton 10-7 in the first round of the BetVictor World Matchplay in Blackpool to book a second round tie with Ian White.
The world champion and world No 1 struggled at times on his doubles and despite always being in front he could not quite shake off the stubborn resistance of 50-year-old Beaton.
Van Gerwen, the pre-tournament favourite, rattled off seven 180s but was just 29 percent on his doubles with a below-par average of just under 99, as he just about pulled away after Beaton had pulled it back to 8-7 at one stage.
\"I should have won this game much easier, I lost too many legs when I missed my doubles which always makes it hard for yourself,\" said van Gerwen.
\"I'm not too happy with the performance but the most important thing is that I won the game, it was quite hard but the first one's always the hardest and I'm looking forward to two days off now.
\"Normally I would never miss so many doubles finishes so it was a bit strange but at the end of the day I won the game and that's what is most important.
\"I'm happy being the favourite, I don't feel there's any extra pressure on me I just like to play my game, I wasn't that good today but it's Saturday and I don't play until Tuesday I think so that's another day.\"
Van Gerwen will need to step up his game in the second round judging by the performance of 'Diamond' White during his 10-4 victory over Terry Jenkins in the opening match of the night.
White kicked off with the first of his four 180s and his average never fell below three figures from there on in, ending on 101 and with some deadly finishing that saw him miss just four doubles with a best outshot of 160.
Perhaps it was no surprise given White had won four of his last five matches with Jenkins, a two-time former finalist in Blackpool, as he cruised into the second round for the third time.
Australian Simon Whitlock looked in decent form with five 180s and a 154 outshot during his 10-6 victory over Kevin Painter.
Whitlock missed a dart for a 4-1 lead before Painter reeled off four straight legs to go in front, and it was nip and tuck from there until Painter's doubles let him down in the closing legs.